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Car repair shop: deadly sins of changing a wheel and professional tips for the exchange appointment

Car repair shop: deadly sins of changing a wheel and professional tips for the exchange appointment

It’s time to change your wheels from winter to summer tires again – the waiting lists at workshops are gradually getting longer. Should you just take the work into your own hands? Only under certain conditions, says the expert.

Easter is approaching and the weather is clearing up. For many drivers, the wonderful spring warmth means it’s time to change tires. Since, depending on the workshop, you may have to wait days or weeks to finally get the other wheels installed, the idea is to simply take the replacement into your own hands.

A question that many people are likely to ask themselves every time they change: “Shouldn’t I finally convert to all-weather and put an end to this work?” The expert has some advice: “It depends on the region and the car whether you even need eight-wheel tires. If you often travel in the mountains in winter, all-weather tires quickly reach their limits. In big cities, however, they get by just fine.” explains Jesco Hußlein, engineer and department head at the HUK-COBURG-Autoservice workshop network star. “When it comes to summer tires, I would look at the car. If you have high performance and a sporty driving style, separate tires are definitely recommended – less common for small cars.”

There is a lot to consider – and see – when changing a wheel

In general, trained car mechanics are bothered by the fact that so many laypeople want to change the wheel themselves. “I can’t recommend changing a wheel yourself. Some people think there’s little you can do wrong, but the devil is in the details,” he says. “If I change the wheels myself, I have to have the right tools for it. A good torque wrench is also very important, because you can’t tighten the screws too tightly, but you can’t tighten them too loosely either.” For the expert, as simple as it sounds, this is exactly the worst mortal sin. He says that customers have come to him on more than one occasion with loose screws that were about to have a serious accident.

In addition, many people forget that changing a bike is also a physical effort, says the expert. “Wheels are heavy, you often work hunched over due to the lack of a platform and there are no lifting devices. It can quickly happen that a wheel hits the brake system or falls down.”

Assuming that your physical condition allows you to change a wheel without any problems and that you have the tools – then it shouldn’t be a problem, right? Hußlein fears that important details will be missed when she is busy screwing the rims on and off. “Many people just change the wheel quickly. I see that as a problem. If you only change the wheel and don’t have an expert look at the components behind it, any damage cannot be identified and repaired before real problems arise,” adds he added.

Jesco Husslein

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To person

Jesco Hußlein is an automotive expert with over 27 years of experience at a well-known Swabian manufacturer. He began his professional career with an apprenticeship as a vehicle mechanic. After being in charge of service at a large car dealership in Aachen for more than three years, Hußlein took on his current role as Head of Network/Partner at HUK-Autoservice GmbH in June 2021.

You should also pay some attention to the tires, recommends Hußlein. A look at the tread depth and the age of the tire is just as important as checking the balancing weights and the wear pattern. Hußlein doubts that a layperson would notice any abnormalities that could, for example, indicate problems with the shock absorbers.

Don’t forget to check tire pressure and torque

Once the change has been made, the work does not end, warns Husslein. “The tire pressure should be checked immediately after changing. The correct values ​​are often found on the door or the tank cap, although with winter tires you often pump in an additional 0.3 to 0.5 bar,” he explains. It is also important: After a few kilometers you should check the wheel nuts again for the correct torque and tighten them if necessary.

After the change, the question arises as to the correct storage of the removed wheels. “When storing, you should stack the tires on top of each other. It’s best to use a rim tree. You can’t go wrong with that. If you have a rim tree with branches on the sides, you should pay attention to the rubber coating so that metal doesn’t rub against metal. You can also simply stack tires on top of each other – The only thing that would be important is not to put the wheels upright on the tread for months. This can lead to pressure points – and these in turn can lead to vibrations.”

And what about cleaning? “This is basically just for aesthetics,” says Hußlein, “but in principle it makes sense to clean the wheels, as it makes it easier to spot damage such as hairline cracks.” Provided you have an eye for it, of course.

Of course, there is the option of simply leaving the wheel changing task to someone else. Sooner or later you will definitely get an appointment because the selection of possible contact points is very large, especially in the city. But what is the maximum you should pay for it? Hußlein: “You don’t have to go to an authorized workshop to change a wheel. If you’re just changing a wheel without storage and additional services, I think ten euros per wheel is a fair rate. Anything over 60 euros is a lot.”

Source: Stern

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